Archive for January 24th, 2016

20­°F — you still get hungry.

Winter is officially here when Garrison Keillor offers his annual celebration.

The weather, he says, is making a serious effort to kill you,
and that’s clarifying, it strips away non-essentials.

Your job is to stay alive.
You’re not a waitress or a plumber or a professor.
You’re a mammal.

There’s no distinction by class or talent,
there’s not even gender, if you’re dressed properly.

I found a warm blooded neighbor, well-dressed, a couple days ago,
emptying the birdfeeder on the back porch.
He didn’t mind the porch light, didn’t mind the bedroom overhead light,
not even the swivelling bedside lamp.

But my flashlight, and my presence,
just two 1/8″ sheets of glass and 1/4″ of inert gas between us,
that gave me enough light for a picture
and made him feel unwelcome.

He descended, backwards,
like a white bronco in a slow chase.

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I told him he could stay,
if he’d just take off the mask.

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Sometimes a house, sometimes a bird feeding station.

The snow raises the stakes, if you’re a bird.
Most of what you’d eat is fourteen inches under a blanket
of the soft fluffy white stuff.

Birds of the north side.

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Southsiders.

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Southwest.

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Northwest.

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Eastward mobile.

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 From a little distance the feeders look like aircraft carrier in battle.
At any approach near enough to shoot a picture
the birds scatter, nine out of ten,
leaving just the bravest, or the hungriest,
of the finches, nuthatches, mourning doves, siskins,
juncos, blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, robins and the rest.

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